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Opinion: Democracy: Change of Government

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Wednesday 26 August | Haruna Darbo

Democracy: Change of Government

Democracy is considered life. It is a commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms of speech and association for industry and tradition, not only for oneself but for all others without regard to race, gender, or creed. One way to accrue Democracy is by appointment or election of a government comprising a representative group of our good number, guided by a common constitution. When that government becomes inadequate for the task of managing our affairs as informed by our constitution, it must be changed either in part or in whole depending on the scale of its deviation from the constitution.

Although constitutions delineate how parts of, or the whole of a government may be changed, those procedures are constitutionally limited to elections and impeachment. However, wily and criminal governments so gangrene the constitutional procedures to bring about such benign changes that it becomes near impossible for peoples to effectuate their desired changes. The options begin to narrow toward unorthodox reform and change, and the most benign but democratic one of those is popular demand for resignation and or removal from office. Our histories are replete with this form of change but with every episode of popular uprising, the criminal government devises countermeasures to stifle them. What to do with an incorrigible government therefore?

The only entity within the governance infrastructure with enough credibility and capacity to effect a change of such errant government is a conscientious and uncompromised military but records of military coups d’etat suggest that those are few and far between and the logistics of such an undertaking can be daunting.

A recent trend of hybrid civilo-military coups, beginning with the Arab Spring, up to the recent Kati Rubicon offers a desperate peoples some measure of hope.

A group of top military officers, having exercised uncommon restraint while an overwhelming number of the population took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacarr Keita (IBK) and his government to no avail, decided to effect a bloodless coup even as the demonstrating population geared up for another round of public demonstrations for the same cause. Property damage and interruption of civil and social services was kept to the barest minimum and dissemination of information to the public was exquisite. At the time of writing this op-ed, the coup leaders have delegated themselves roles in order to facilitate negotiations with the usual suspects of condemners and prosecutors to coordinate the release of their prisoners and to communicate their road map to normalcy and legislative elections. The transition to normalcy is expected to last three years. This hybrid and bloodless coup has the overwhelming support, if not accompaniment of the destitute population who had very little hope of success for their onerous efforts prior. The Kati Rubicon deserves high commendation and support and it could very well be a model to change future criminal leaders and governments. That is until the latter devises newer schemes to frustrate such hybrid coups d’etat.

Although any coups involving the military are always suspect, hybrid civilo-military coups have the added value to temper these and those extremes of soldiers, no matter how conscientious the soldiers appear or promise to be. This is because wherever weapons are present, there will always exist the possibility of unintended violence or appetite for injustice. Vigilance in due diligence is required to curb such appetite. And where a population is woke, we have tremendous opportunity to establish a new status-quo against corruption of future governments. It is in all our interests to accompany the great peoples of Mali toward resounding success.

Haruna Darbo - Formation Coordinator - The Global Democracy Project; The GDP, Georgia, USA.

Editors Note:

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